/Bir & Fud Sux

Bir & Fud Sux

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Last week I went to the much-hyped Bir & Fud in Trastevere for the first time. I had high hopes for this place, a pizzeria that prides itself on its use of the highest quality ingredients and which some claim is among the best in Rome. I expected to find excellent Neapolitan style pizza there but, as is generally the case for trendy spots, Bir & Fud fell way short of my expectations. We started with a plate of BBQ chicken wings, pleasantly plump pieces caked with a dry breading with the sauce on the side. It was necessary to down and entire half pint of beer to avoid choking on the chalky crust. A caprese salad followed, made with a rich buffalo mozzarella from southern Lazio, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. This was to be the meal’s highlight. This was a dish that involved little preparation on the part of Bir & Fud’s kitchen, which is why it was successful.

Next came two pizzas: a margherita and a margherita doppia (the classic pie finished with uncooked buffalo mozzarella). In both cases, the tomato sauce’s sharp acidity* totally overpowered the mozzarella we enjoyed so much in the caprese and oddly distributed overly abundant meaty chunks of tomatoes further masked the flavor of the cheese. And as if this amateur mistake wasn’t intolerable enough, my margherita was so strangely misshapen (see above), for a moment I thought they had mistakenly served a calzone. When I realized it was simply a sloppily formed pizza, I considered asking for the missing quarter.

Bir & Fud lacks both the quality product and the atmosphere of a Neapolitan or Roman pizzeria. I admire any Roman restaurant’s attempt to use high quality ingredients in an age where, unfortunately, this is not a given. But if you don’t manage to do anything decent with said ingredients, I don’t really see the point. Isn’t food in Rome supposed to be about taste anymore or has it taken a back seat to hype?

*the acidity to which I refer is that of the tomatoes, not the dough.

36 Comments

  1. JP October 25, 2009 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Isnt pizza supposed to be round, at best oval? The pic says it all! Guess you have to go to Naples for the real deal.

  2. Yuko October 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    It’s always nice to read your articles, ’cause I’ve been waiting for a new one for a while. As you said, this kind of thing happens a lot when you visit popular places. Caprese salad was the highlight of your meal?? Too bad…

    Have you been to Tullio in Rome? It’s an awesome place to eat! Highly recommended!!

  3. nyc/caribbean ragazza October 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    I’m glad to see this review as several people have asked me if I’ve been to this restaurant. What’s with the hype?

    Given Montecarlo and Baffetto are so close to me, I’ll stick with them for a while.

  4. Justin K. October 27, 2009 at 3:40 am - Reply

    They do serve interesting beer there!

    • Katie October 27, 2009 at 9:11 am - Reply

      Yeah the beer list is extensive. I’ll give them that. Too bad our server couldn’t find any adjectives other than “buona” and “buonissima” to describe the items on the beer menu.

  5. Tom October 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Katie–is your spelling of “sux” purposely done so your site is not barred from by computers with prudish firewalls? lol Or is in keeping with the restaurant’s name Bir & Fud? Either way, it’s very creative of you!

    • Katie October 28, 2009 at 2:10 am - Reply

      Ha! I forgot ParlaFood is banned for its explicit content. I chose “sux” to make fun of bir & fud’s dumb name. really, with a name like that, i should have expected crap. it’s clear they are trying too hard.

  6. Florence Wrap Up October 28, 2009 at 2:07 am - Reply

    […] Wed October 28th, 2009 « Bir & Fud Sux […]

  7. Katie October 28, 2009 at 2:16 am - Reply

    @JP i never pass up a trip to naples for pizza. but there are some great places in Trastevere for pizza roman stlye: Ai Marmi is a favorite. Da Ivo isn’t bad. I really like Montecarlo and Li Rioni. For pizza napoletana in rome, i go to addo masto in ostiense.

    @Yuko ive never been to tullio. it’s near piazza di spagna right? ive been meaning to check out more places in that zone. thanks for the heads up!

    @nyc/caribbean ragazza lucky you! i love montecarlo. definitely not a gourmet spot, but the pizzas are consistent and just the right size-huge!

  8. Rosemary Olson June 15, 2010 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Katie, I think she means Tullio off Pz. Barberini. Not a pizza place. I had the most wonderful lunch there with my husband 4 years ago. I would love for you to go and review it so I know it was good food, not just the company that formed my memory.

    • Katie June 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      i’ll add it to my list of places to review. thanks rosemary!

  9. […] & Fud: The title of this blog post kinda says it all. Bad pizza, possibly worse service. Nearby Dar Poeta has terrible […]

  10. […] about his Bir & Fud? My opinion on this place hasn’t changed much since my first visit. This post I wrote last October pretty much sums it up. On my second trip, the pizza was more round, but it […]

  11. Bir & Fud August 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for all your kind words on Bir & Fud. You don’t understand the hype is absolutely correct… But then again what can you expect from someone who doesn’t actually “do” anything and only criticize what’s “done” by others. By looking at your other comments I can safely say that your opinion is absolutely overated as well. The “whole peeled tomatoes” we use and not “tomato sauce” is actually one of the few in Italy not to use citric acid as a preservative and thus does not have a low PH (acidity, if you don’t know what a low PH is). The acidity you found is given by our yeast which, by the way, we coltivate ourselves. As far as the rest goes, we obviously accept all types of constructive criticism, but formulated by someone who can at least decifer the major differences between food items. If you stoop so low as to actually use the word “dumb” when it comes to Bir & Fud and you didn’t win any originality prizes for the name Parla Food, I think we can speak for all the great restaurants which you absolutely blasted and say that we are happy you didn’t enjoy our restaurants if that means you won’t come back. In the meantime we’ll keep working the way we are. Maybe you should rate McDonald’s next… Thank you again.

    • Katie August 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      First of all, compliments on your beer list which I have had the pleasure of enjoying on my 2 visits to bir&fud. i think your acclaim is justified for your promotion of artisinal beers and use of quality ingredients. That said, i really do think bir&fud is overrated for its food. I did not like your pizza on my first visit and thought the wings were a hot mess. on my second trip, i did like the fritti, and on both trips, I found the service to be aloof and dismissive. there are so many other restaurants in rome that excel on all fronts and unfortunately on my trips, Bir&Fud fell short. It is disappointing that for this reason you took the easy and cheap path of condescention but, trust me it’s nothing new. i stand by my assessment of bir&fud from October 2009 and I never said I wouldnt return. In fact, I did go back and will return again sometime this fall. As for blasting the great restaurants, I am not sure which ones you mean, but you will find plenty of positive reviews on ParlaFood, but only where I find merit. Finally, I stand by my statement that the name Bir&Fud is dumb. but big deal. lighten up. this is a blog and i am free to use casual language if i wish.

  12. Mark August 6, 2010 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Letting aside the disagreements regarding the quality of the food I can’t help but congratulate Bir & Fud in this genius public relations move. makes you wonder about the customer service you might receive if you dare to disagree with anything. the tact they lack is striking. the personal attacks they generously lash out to a blogger clearly shows no one has the right to disagree with their mighty restaurant. and god forbid if that person is not Italian. and the devil forbid if this person is “American” (the redundant inverted comas are clearly back in fashion). the name Bir&Fud doesn’t represent your hatred for Americans so, maybe you should reconsider the name or put signs outside (if you are American “fuk” off to McDonalds) or just an old school charred American flag that’s so popular in the middle east. I don’t think reducing people to their national stereotypes is enough for a solid PR campaign, maybe they could introduce gender and racial stereotypes and tell us who are the chosen few who can comment on their fud. After all this I would come and taste your PH balanced food only if I wasn’t afraid of being lynched.

  13. Katie August 7, 2010 at 12:57 am - Reply

    @Mark “fuk” off to McDonald’s is the new vaffanculo for Italian gastronomes, it seems. I wonder if a positive review would have resulted in the following response, “thanks for your favorable review of our restaurant but it really doesn’t mean anything because you don’t know shit about food.” Somehow I doubt it.

  14. Bir & Fud August 18, 2010 at 1:35 am - Reply

    @ Mark
    I think you took my response a little out of context. I care to specify that I lived in the States for almost two decades, that my wife and daughter are American, that most of my best friends are in California, and that I cried when the twin towers got hit. I just cannot see any slight hint of Anti-Americanism in my comment. Maybe you are just not used to responses from the people who are called “Dumb” whose restaurants “Suck”. I could never imagine actually using those words to describe the hard work of someone… This was the first time I ever answered to any comments ever posted on the internet on Bir & Fud, the reason I chose to post an answer is that I felt it was absolutely out of the line. Having said this, I guess I should extend my apologies to all the great patriots who read this forum, Ronald McDOnald’s, my wife and daughter, and to all the poor people who had the misfortune to dine in our terrible establishment.
    @ Katie
    I guess I should have just said thank you…
    no worries…

    • Katie August 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      First and foremost, I do not write this blog for restaurants or their owners. I have no intention of or interest in impressing restauranteurs or gaining their affection. I am at the service of the customer and I want people to think about what they are eating, why they are eating it, and, if possible, help them decide if a restaurant is worth their time and money. My October meal at Bir&Fud was a huge disappointment and it was money poorly spent. It was in that spirit that I wrote the post above. You may not like what I said or how I said it but I have every right to do so, and suggesting otherwise is nothing short of food tyranny.

      On the patriotism front, your strong personal bond with America is touching, but Im afraid it doesn’t exonerate you from suggesting I review McDonalds. Your choice of destinations was an American chain–not Spizzico or Autogrill–and one that is routinely evoked when denigrating American food culture. Just as Mark did, I interpreted your comments as having an anti-American sentiment, and your defense above, frankly, smacks of the old excuse “Im not racist, some of my best friends are [insert group you are about to insult here]”.

      I did not say you were dumb and did not attack you personally. I did say the bir&fud sux and the name is dumb. Maybe corny is a better word? But get over it. Quit crying over a bad review and focus on improving your business (quality control, customer service, and professionalism are a few areas where you may wish to start). Devote time to developing a thicker skin and coming to terms with the fact that criticism is not out of line when it is justified.

  15. Bir & Fud August 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    First and foremost, I do not care why you write this blog, you should still refrain from using words outside the realm of polite. In your regards as a customer I am sorry you had such a terrible experience and as CUSTOMER ONLY you could use that kind of language. As someone who, as on obvious amateur, writes reviews, I do not accept it. I can guarantee you that our company lives on the personal relations we create with our customers on a daily basis and has never been influenced in an incisive way by reviews, especially ones posted on the web.

    On the patriotism front, I’m glad you appreciate my strong personal bond with America enough to be sarcastic about it. How would you respond to the flag burning comment? Would you post some pictures of you holding hands with your American friends? Or holding a flag? I think playing that card to begin with showed a bit of ill sentiment towards Italy and a little militia like paranoia. The comment on McDonald’s had nothing to do with its American iconicity but with the quality of their food. By the way, is the Maillard reaction present on their burgers?

    And third… Thanks for all the great advice on running a successful business. Do you do consulting as well? We are looking for someone with lots of opinions on issues they know absolutely nothing about to perpetuate our lack of professionalism, quality control, and customer service. We would like to add a little hypocrisy to our resume, and if you think that calling your reviewees dumb is professional than your our gal.

  16. Katie August 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I will not refrain from using impolite words. What a ridiculous statement. That said, I think I have been exceedingly polite here considering your have not held back in your personal attacks against me. It’s all good, though. They speak volumes about you and say nothing about me.

    Finally, in response to your questions: Boh; No; No; I don’t eat at McDonald’s; Yes.

  17. Mark August 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    @Bir & Fud
    Thanks for not hating Americans, or I think that’s what you meant in your cryptic reply. Though i was mostly confused if as you claim Ronald McDonald has had food in your restaurant please send me a picture. He’s an icon.
    You seem to be overly concerned about people being able to criticise your hard work. Unfortunately hard work doesn’t guarantee quality product. See Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor.
    Everyone has every right to criticise the things they like or dislike with the words they choose as long as it is within the law. Just because you would never voice your opinion in such manner doesn’t mean you can demand it from everyone else. It is freedom of expression and internet is an important source for people who are looking for information outside the confines of traditional media. Which is why I read this blog, it feels personal and honest. The irreverent words that angers you are part of the style that is refreshing. If you so despise it, then you should just not read it. If you don’t respect the people who write or read this blog then why bother replying in such furious manner? And if you are doing so to defend your brand, believe me you are doing it wrong. Equally you have every right to answer in the manner you choose. This is probably why PR and restaurants are two different businesses.
    You hold your hard work in such esteem and look down on others I could only advise you to take yourself less seriously. At the end of the day it is a restaurant and not an altruistic quest that is out to save human lives. Lively debate is the spice of any forum however when it turns aggressive and spiteful it looses its fun. I thought I would reply to your comment knowing any communication would most likely be unfruitful. Good luck with it all.

  18. TheUnMentionables September 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    I am a longtime (American) Rome resident and I agree with Katie, Bir & Fud was a huge disappointment. After waiting 20 min for a booked table, we were rushed into ordering before we even had a chance to look through the menu. Forget about asking questions about the beer, as Katie said, we got short answers (buona, molto buona, particolare, speciale) and when it was clear we were not ready to order, the waiter abruptly left. It was Tuesday night and although there were a lot of people there, it wasn’t packed. The fritti were pretty good, but I’ve had better from my local rosticceria. The pizzas were no better than the average, and yes, overpriced. I sure won’t be going back.

  19. Katie September 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Ah, yes, the good old litany of absolutely useless adjectives that servers are fond of using when they don’t know the menu or don’t care to help. Shame.

  20. Mark Andersen September 21, 2010 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    While you’re obviously within your rights to criticize a restaurant on an internet blog I do think the manner in which you have done it is a bit over the top. I mean you’ve even created a page called “bir-fud-sux” so that it will come up on page one of most search engines (at least it did for Yahoo). By all means criticize a restaurant fairly but does your experience of a not so great pizza warrant attempting to publicly destroy the reputation of an establishment like this. Over the top I say.

    Based on the experience you described it’s fair to say that the place may be overrated but was it so brutal that it warrants its own bir-fud-sux webpage?

    I can’t blame the owner (I assume he’s the owner) for coming here a little pissed off in rebuttal.

    And I didn’t really notice the anti-American tone that you pointed out. I think maybe you’re being a bit defensive as well.

    Anyhow, I’ll be in Rome for the first time on October 15th for 3 nights. I’m specifically staying in the Trastevere neighborhood to be in walking distance of the Football Pub and Bir and Fud. I expect out of Bir & Fud to have very good and friendly service, good food (I don’t expect it to be anywhere near the best meal I’ll have in Italy as I’ll be coming from Bologna so I don’t think that expectation is fair), and great beer (I’ll be especially pleased to see Franconian beer on the menu).

    If I’m dissapointed based on these modest expectations then you can rest assured I’ll be back here to complain on this blog and will admit you’re right. Either way I’ll report back.

  21. Katie September 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm - Reply

    Just got an email from a chef after his kitchen served an awful burger. Thought you should see how its done, @Bir & Fud:

    “Hi Katie,

    I noticed on Twitter that you had a nasty burger the other day, so this is just a quick note to say I’m very sorry that you had this experience, and that I hope you will give us another chance.

    Regardless of how busy we were or what staffing issues we may have had, this should never be reflected in the standard of anything we serve, so again I am very sorry.

    Hope to see you here again soon,

    Regards”

    Cheers!

  22. Mark Andersen September 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    In fairness to you Katie. After reading and replying to this review I have looked around your website/blog a bit more and I like it a lot. There seems to be a ton of great information here.

    Whether or not you were attempting to destroy Bir&Fud’s reputation I can’t help but sympathize with the owner. If the web page had said Bir-Fud-review and contained honest and constructive criticism regarding the place then nobody should complain. But to have an in your face bir-fud-sux link that people find on page one of their search engines then that’s a different story.

    When I saw the link I kind of expected it to be some angry jerk with a crappy blog. Instead I find what appears to be an exceptional blog with a harsh review perhaps presented unprofessionally.

    Just my opinion.

    I also hope I have a better experience than you. My expectations are probably lower except when it comes to the beer and I’ll keep that in mind when I report back.

  23. Mark Andersen September 21, 2010 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the suggestions! I didn’t realize Open Baladin was a short walk from Trastevere. That’s good to know too.

  24. Katie September 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    if your goal is to drink excellent italian and european and craft brews, then you obviously have done your research because Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa (aka Football Pub) and Bir & Fud are two very important destinations and you wont be disappointed on that front. Im sure you also know about Open Baladin across the river, just a short walk from Trastevere, which also specializes in craft beers.

    i hardly think this post constitutes an attempt to destroy bir&fud’s reputation.

    Please do report back and I do hope your experience there is vastly better than mine were!

  25. Katie September 21, 2010 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Mark, Yeah I realize my style is not everyone’s cup of tea. And this single post, if out of context, certainly won’t win me any fans! I’m glad you have found some useful info on ParlaFood. Im always down to hear about beer travels so please come back and let me know how you make out in Italy.

    Also, while in Rome, i suggest visiting Johnny’s Off License, Domus Birrae, Sforno, and La Gatta Mangiona. These are my 2 favorite beer shops (former) and 2 favorite pizzerias (latter) in rome. Sforno and La Gatta Mangiona don’t have the same extensive beer list that Bir & Fud has, but they do have plenty of great bottles and serve sensational pizza and great fritti.

    Oh and if you read Italian, pick up Eurohop! It is a beer oriented guide book (written, in part, by the owner of Bir & Fud). You can pick it up here.

  26. Rome’s Best Pizza October 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    […] avoid Rome’s most overrated pizzerie, both in Trastevere: Dar Poeta and Bir e Fud, serving inedible pizzas with a smile and wonky pizzas with a frown, […]

  27. dcgent November 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    We just visited Bir+Fud last night and I’ve been searching out reviews–fascinating to see this exchange. We love our beer AND pizza–and both we’re great last night. My potatoe/sausage was excellent–nice rosemary–and had the perfect crust I despair of finding in England (crispy on the sides and chewsy but cooked all the way to the center). Service was VERY helpful even the place was slammed on a Friday night–the hoste (owner) took the time to translate almost the whole menu and explain the various fried specials. I was surprised Katie here is so down on the place but hope others give it a try. I’m sure it’s not the best in Rome but it was a combo of great beer and very good food for us.

  28. Katie November 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    @dcgent im glad to hear that you enjoyed yourselves. I still havent made it back this fall but hope to find the same improvements when I do! On a side note, have you been to Franco Manca in London? Check it out if you have the chance. The pizza is excellent neapolitan style with a slow food twist http://francomanca.co.uk/ ciao!

  29. The Best and Worst of 2010 December 28, 2010 at 8:55 am - Reply

    […] and Bir, but one thing is certain, the pizza at this Trastevere joint is nothing special. After a wonky and less than delectable pizza in late 2009, I returned for a second try and, once again, found the pizza to be tremendously […]

  30. Anthony June 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    @Bir & Fud Wow! During your time in America did you spend any time in hospitality or food service? Did any of the happy-go-lucky California attitude rub off on you? More importantly, do you know this post has a very high rank in google? Responding to a blogger in such a hostile manner reflects very badly on you and your business. Bir & Fud wan’t on my list of places to eat on my upcoming visit to Rome, but if it were you can be sure it would be crossed off the list based on your very unprofessional behaviour.

  31. Larry T. January 12, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    Wow, serious pissing contest going on here. I won’t whiz on anything but must say I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near Bir&Fud until a buona forchetta I trust suggested it. This same person rates Sorbillo in Napoli quite highly so I figured “perche no?” I thought Bir&Fud’s pizza was pretty good – nothing like Sorbillo but very good overall. I didn’t much care for the antipasto stuff there, but didn’t really go there for that, just pizza and beer. I don’t much care for thin Roman style pizza but would love to know about better Neopolitan-style places in Rome.

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